Repairing wallpaper that is damaged is usually met with disdain. In fact, most of the time when I see clients that have torn, bubbling, or detached wallpaper, they tell me, “Oh, yeah, we’re going to replace that…” I always ask them why, and then tell them they can save themselves the trouble by just repairing it.

Most wallpaper problems, and especially the ones we’ll talk about in this article, can be fixed with three easy steps, and you typically only need about four different tools to do all of the repairs.

Here are the tools:

–          Utility knife

–          White glue or border adhesive

–          Damp sponge

–          Caulk

So let’s get to it.

Bubbling wallpaper

If you have a lot of bubbles in your wallpaper, yes, you should probably just get it replaced. Lots of bubbles – even a few bubbles – are usually caused by poor initial installation. But, more often than not, there are probably just a few bubbles, and those are pretty easy to take care of. Here are the steps to repair a bubble in your wallpaper:

1)      Using you utility knife, perform a cross cut to open the bubble (a cross cut is one vertical cut and one horizontal cut that intersect in the middle).

2)      Open the four leaves you are left with and apply a small amount of white glue with a small brush.

3)      Using a damp sponge, smooth the leaves back into place. Allow to dry completely.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do to repair those annoying bubbles in your wallpaper.

Torn wallpaper

Torn wallpaper can happen for any number of reasons. Usually they are not because of poor application on the initial installation, but it could be. If you have seams that are overexposed, it makes them easier to tug on, which results in tears.

1)      Carefully pull back the torn section of wallpaper.

2)      Apply white glue or border adhesive to wall with small brush, taking care not to get glue on front end of any of the wallpaper.

3)      Smooth the torn wallpaper back into place using a damp sponge.

You’re probably getting the drift now, eh? Wallpaper doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

Reattaching wallpaper

Wallpaper that is coming off of the wall is usually caused by poor initial application, but it can also be caused by moist air in bathrooms, which is where you are most likely to find this particular problem. To prevent this problem in the future, check your bath fans to make sure they are in working order and replace if need be.

1)      Peel back lifted section and apply white glue or border adhesive.

2)      Use a damp sponge to smooth section back into place.

3)      After the area is done drying, apply caulk along the seam between the wallpaper and the wall.

The majority of wallpaper issues are fairly simple to fix, as you can see. There’s no need to switch out your wallpaper for small, but common, problems like the ones noted in this article. So don’t be afraid of your wallpaper – make your wallpaper fear you.

About the Author
Diane Kuehl is a home improvement/DIY professional and owner of
DIY Mother. She lives in Springfield, Illinois with her husband and two kids.